Island Hopping

Left our slip at Marina de La Paz on Wednesday, March 21 at high tide. Our new friend, Alfredo, handled our lines as we pulled away.  Wind was 8-12 knots, so we pulled the sails and had a leisurely sail to Ensenada del Candelero on Espiritu Santo. We set the anchor in 20 feet, with a sand bottom.  All was great until Dale helped Ken stow his fishing pole and received a hook in the arm.  This was not a small hook, it was a triple prong, barbed hook still attached to a heavy pole and it became embedded deeply in her forearm.  After an hour and a half and the necessity of cutting line off the pole and using a knife to make a slit, the hook was removed. Whew…..dangers of fishing!

Thursday, March 22, after a calm night we watched a beautiful sunrise and spent the day snorkeling a nearby reef and relaxing in the beautiful anchorage.  Temperature was in the 80’s and the water was cool, but felt good.  

Friday, March 23, decided to up anchor and motor the mile or two to another anchorage further north.  Guess this is spring break week…..lots of charter yachts (70-120 feet) with families…anchorages are really full!  OK, lets try the next island, Isla San Francisco, 25 miles NW.  No wind, we had a beautiful motor to this island.  The water is aqua and very clear.  We saw rays jumping out of the water, whales and a few dolphins.  Arrived at Isla San Francisco….this anchorage is a beautiful half circle with a white sand beach.  We dropped our anchor and enjoyed a beautiful evening.  

Saturday, March 24, lowered our trusty “Tiny Dancer” and attached the outboard.  In to the shore to take a hike.  What a beautiful place.  Up the hill to see in all directions, including the anchorage and Slow Dancer below.  These islands are striated rocks and in some places resemble the moon, then you see a beautiful plant or tree and wonder how they can survive!  Walked several miles and ended up back at the beach to walk along the sand and shells. Talked to fellow cruisers on the vessel Slow Motion. Dinghied back to Slow Dancer to have lunch then a snorkel along the rock wall.  Lots of colorful fish!  

Sunday, March 25, the wind has picked up during the night to over 20 knots.  Our plan to leave and head toward San Evaristo was delayed a couple of hours!  Talked to Slow Motion over the VHF to compare weather information.  There is no cell service or internet on these islands, so cruisers compare their systems to see what the general consensus is.  We have a satellite system that gets a couple of weather sources as well as limited phone and texting.  Around 10:00 a.m. both boats set out down the San Jose channel toward San Evaristo, 9 miles away.  The winds were on our nose and the current was against us.  We had to slice the waves diagonally to avoid slamming over them. This took us a bit longer. We motored along for a couple of hours and into the bay of this delightful little fishing village.  Winds were still high, so we set the anchor and waited to be sure that it held.  The most protected spots already had boats in them, so we chose one that was less than ideal….but it worked for us AND was close to town.

Monday, March 26, winds 12-18 throughout the day.  We again deployed Tiny Dancer and motored across the bay to the village.  What a wonderful little place consisting of a few families that depend on fishing for their existence.  The cantina was run by Lupe Sierra and his family.  They had four tables and served cold beer and fresh fish.  We ate shrimp tacos and drank cold Pacificos.  While we had lunch, we watched a few local children playing on the edge of the beach.  It was apparent to us that these children had very little, yet were truly happy.  Playing in a small boat in the shallows, laughing and enjoying. We heard no fighting or unhappiness during our entire stay. This town has limited cell service, t.v. and no internet, yet the people were some of the happiest that we have seen!  What a great experience!  We motored to the other side of the town to find the “Tienda” (store).  We walked among the houses looking for a sign or something….saw a local and asked: Donde esta la tienda?  (Where is the store?)  “Alli”  (there)….we saw a run down house with a bunch of boxes, etc. on the porch.  But she added “tienda es cerrado” (store is closed).  Apparently it opened at 9 in the morning… was 1 in the afternoon…short hours!  Our Spanish is improving ….still not adequate, though!

During our time at anchor, we made water with our watermaker as well as power using our solar panels.  It’s really nice to be self sufficient!  

Tuesday, March 27.  Winds picked up during the night to 21 knots.  Decided to stay on the boat.  During the afternoon, another sailboat…Galena II came into the anchorage and dropped their anchor and drifted close to us.  REALLY?!!  This caused us to do an anchor watch through out the night to be sure that neither of us drifted.  We do have an alarm that tells us if we drag anchor….not a sound that is comforting at 2 in the morning!  

Wednesday, March 28.  Anchor holding really well, but we do dance a lot in the wind.  During the night, a catamaran “Hot Stuff”, drug anchor into another sailboat.  We heard horns honking and shouting.  This caused us to become cartoon characters stumbling over each other to get on deck and see what was happening and was it us?! After the crew backed away from the sailboat that they had bumped, they motored close to us…..NO….we are not interested in this meeting in the dark!   Whew….they turned away and re-anchored.  Not much sleep after that!  
Winds picked up throughout the day. Can we make it into Lupe’s?  Lunch was a no go….about 4:30 they calmed down and we again lowered our trusty steed “Tiny” and motored to the beach.  We sat down and ordered a beer.  We got that and waited and waited to order…..apparently Lupe and his family were inside the restaurant having their family dinner… service until the family has eaten.  Family first….gotta respect that!   As we were waiting….here comes the crew of Galena II…..and they were really nice!  So much for the sulky looks thrown their way because of the proximity of their boat to ours.  We had a great dinner with the three guys off Galena and dinghied back in the dark to our home.  The wind had picked up and knowing that we were leaving in the morning, we hoisted Tiny’s motor onto the railing and Tiny onto the front deck.

Thursday, March 29.  Winds were up….should we leave?  The guys from Galena II left at 7:00….it looks kind of scary out into the channel.  OK, if they can do it, so can we!  9:20, we started our engine in 15-19 knots of wind.  Out we go!  Waves were big…up to 6 feet, but winds were at our back, so out came the sails.  We passed Isla San Francisco under a 3/4 main and 3/4 jib.  We zoomed toward Espiritu Santo with the wind and waves giving us a boost.  Sailed through the day until we came close to the island.  Several huge yachts (70+ feet) were at anchor in most of the anchorages…spring break… so we headed toward our trusty Ensenada del Candelero.
We dropped anchor in 17 feet of clear aqua water and breathed a sigh of relief in the calm sunset.  

Friday, March 30.   Breakfast on the deck overlooking the clear water.  Snorkeled out to the rock wall.  Saw lots of brightly colored fish and a giant clam.  Upon looking toward the surface we noticed hundreds of tiny jellyfish….yikes!  So that’s what was causing the tiny pin prick sensation!  Out of there!  Spent the afternoon relaxing and soaking up the sun.

Saturday, March 31.  Breakfast on deck, getting ready to leave this beautiful rock walled anchorage and head back to LaPaz.  As we were looking over the water, a head popped up next to the boat.  Mr. seal spent the next 30 minutes entertaining us!  We watched him fish and he watched us watch him!  A nice end to a great trip.  Winds were minimal.  We motored out into the bay stopping for a swim and lunch, then back into La Paz.  Of course the wind picked up just as we headed into the tight marina, but Captain Ken piloted us right into our slip.  Life is good 🙂

Isla San Francisco
Other side of Isla San Francisco
View from the top of Isla San Francisco
Nice evening at anchor
Our trusty steed!
Smooth seas
The town of San Evaristo
A boy and a ball…..universal
Slow dancer at anchor beyond
Nice place for a nap
View from the restaurant
Local “tienda”
Breakfast entertainment

Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo 

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